In this economy, taking on a kitchen remodel can be a scary proposition. But, whether you’re designing for yourself or for resale, the key to success is to embrace timelessness. That doesn’t mean sacrificing personality for a neutral palette though. Quite the opposite!
Here are some helpful tips to send you well on your way to a fun and timeless kitchen design without losing your mind or breaking the bank!
Tip One: Take a breath and know that your project is going to be great! The key is to break your remodel down into manageable steps and items that you can wrap your head around: cabinets, counters, floors, paint, and accessories. Try not to freak out as you move along. Sometimes things don’t come together until the very end, so resist the temptation to second guess every creative decision you’ve made!
Tip Two: Design your kitchen around colors and items that make you feel great! This is the room most people spend their time in, whether they’re cooking, entertaining, or just doing homework with the kids, so loving the look is important. Make your design meaningful! Looking for inspiration from a pottery collection, a piece of artwork, or even the food you love is a great place to start.
Tip Three: For a cleaner look, limit your color palette to no more than three colors. Money-saving tip: Plan on repurposing found items for your accents where you can. Frame pictures from your favorite recipes, use inexpensive flower pots or mason jars to store utensils and cutlery, repurpose an old console table as a center island. You might even want to spray paint the old dining set to give it a new life!
Tip Four: Keep your ideas on track by developing a design board or some loose drawings. They don’t have to be professional or even be EXACTLY like the finished product, just enough to make your point. Seeing your ideas come together before taking a sledgehammer to your old tile not only gets you excited about your project, but can also keep you from making some horrible design mistakes.
Tip Five: If creating a new layout, carefully consider how you move in the space. The worst is when you’re furiously trying to get dinner on the table for a group of friends about to arrive and you can’t find anything or move around your kitchen seamlessly. Determine the types of stations you need and what you need in each of those places. Make sure you add drawers for utensils or sauces—anything you might need to quickly grab while standing in that place. Cooking in your kitchen should be fun and easy, not daunting. For those of you not able to recreate your floor plan, it’s a matter of reorganizing. So what if your spoons were always in THAT particular spot? Maybe it’s a better place for your spices now.
Tip Six: When focusing on your large installed items, don’t just concentrate on what materials are popular now, but take a look at the items that have been relevant for over a decade. If you’re designing a kitchen for a home you plan on living in for the next two decades, by all means, go crazy and embrace the avocado and orange if that’s what you’re in to. If you don’t plan on staying there forever or even if you think your style might change inside of a few years, give yourself room to grow. Look to classic combinations like Carrera marble with white, black, or grey cabinets; soap stone or black counters with white or walnut cabinets; or butcher block with just about any cabinet color you can imagine! Money-saving tip: Don’t count laminate out. With innovative edge details and hundreds of patterns to choose from, this option will score a 10 in both sturdiness and style! My personal favorite is Wilsonart’s Calcutta Marble.
Tip Seven: Think transitional for timeless appeal. Keep the lines of your installed items clean and determine the style with your accents. For instance, try going Shaker with your cabinets! A traditional cup pull will move them in a more classic and traditional direction and a linear pull will take you down a modern road. By doing this, you’ve opened up tons of design doors for yourself with one cabinet style.
Tip Eight: No matter what kind of backsplash you choose, create an interesting configuration. For all you DIYers out there who are new to doing tile, the last thing you want to see is a sagging grid pattern, so stagger your tiles. It’s much more interesting to look at, and you can use this technique even when working with a square tile shape. Money-saving tip: Use a classic ceramic subway tile from your local hardware store for $0.22 a tile. This timeless tile looks amazing with just about any counter choice. You can even run them up the wall for a more modern look.
Tip Nine: When it comes to flooring, my personal preference, again, is the staggered look. This configuration is classy, timeless, modern or traditional. I also love to pull my grout color from the tile itself and I rarely go with the high contrast between the two. Over time, that dark grout next to a light tile tends to look dirty anyway so save yourself the bother. Money-saving tip: use tighter grout lines. I like to go 1/16 of an inch. It looks classier and you’re using less grout overall. Less grout used = less money spent.
Tip Ten: Stand back and congratulate yourself on your lovely kitchen. Not only are you sane, but you are happy. Your space is both timeless and inspired by the items and colors you love the most!